Sure it’s early, but four games into the season, one of the newest Red Wings is topping the league scoring charts.
With 5-3-8 totals, DeBrincat is No. 1 in the NHL in points. His empty-net goal to seal Wednesday’s 6-3 verdict over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesars Arena allowed the Red Wings forward to leapfrog Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl into sole possession of top spot among NHL point producers.
Both Malkin, who counted two points for the Penguins in Wednesday’s loss and Draisaitl already have Art Ross Trophies on their respective resumes. You know the last time they presented a Red Wings player with the award as the NHL’s top scorer?
We’ll save you looking it up. It was Gordie Howe and the season was 1962-63.
Mind you, no one ever made the Stanley Cup playoffs or won the Art Ross Trophy in October. But isn’t it nice to be talking about such things and the Red Wings in the same sentence?
DeBrincat Nets Two Against Penguins
DeBrincat scored twice in Wednesday’s win and also drew an assist. His goal was a simple tap in of an Austin Czarnik feed from the edge of the Pittsburgh goal crease.
“On that first goal Czarnie makes a good play on the boards and then hits me back door,” DeBrincat said. “I’m just standing there. I don’t even see the puck. He puts it right on my stick.”
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 19, 2023
Obviously, it’s not as simple as DeBrincat is making it sound, nor is scoring goals at the NHL level as easy as he often makes it look. Just as the best goalies make tough saves look routine through their outstanding technique, elite scorers do likewise by getting to the scoring areas at precisely the correct moment.
“Yeah, it seems like a simple goal, backdoor tap-in, but he gets to spots,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “He’s a finisher, he’s a goal-scorer, but the way he transports pucks, the way he can play on entries on the rush has been really good.”
Local Boy Making Good With Red Wings
Among the 10 newcomers on Detroit’s roster, certainly none was facing more scrutiny entering the season than DeBrincat. He’s a two-time 41-goal scorer in the NHL and he’s from Farmington Hills. Would the local boy live up to the hype?
A true homecoming ❤️🤍
Alex DeBrincat and Ken Daniels visit Farmington Hills Ice Arena, where @Brinksy97 grew up playing hockey. You can catch their full conversation on the next episode of Wingspan, premiering next Tuesday. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/d0QbOPR6au
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) October 17, 2023
So far, so good.
DeBrincat is just the fourth player in franchise history with eight points through his first four games, joining Jud McAtee, Paul Coffey and Earl (Dutch) Reibel.
“Goal-scorers go through hot streaks, and he’s on one right now,” Lalonde said.
Certainly, the fast start is enabling DeBrincat to assimilate into the roster of his hometown team without being overwhelmed by the weight of great expectations.
“I’m sure it helps him immensely,” Lalonde said. “It’s exciting for everyone, but at the same time there’s got to be some pressure there. He’s had some great success in this league. He comes to his hometown, I’m sure there’s some pressure there.
“I’m learning a lot of things about him. What I really like is he’s an unbelievable human being. He’s got an energy about him, he’s always positive. Just like a kid, he loves hockey, he loves being around. He’s always positive.
“It’s gone very well but it’s just a four-game stretch.”
DeBrincat is also cognizant of the fact that there’s a long season still ahead.
“It makes everything easier,” he said of the fast start. “A lot of it goes to my linemates and teammates. It’s been a lot of that, a lot of good puck luck.
“Hopefully it keeps going. But you can’t get too satisfied.”
Still, being No. 1 is always a good thing. Even four games into the season.